How To Buy Like a Real Estate Mogul

Townhome, single-family, closing costs, oh my! Shopping for a home whether you’re a first-time buyer, or seasoned escrow veteran can, and often is one of the most challenging tasks we face. The online window shopping - dreaming about the property with the white picket fence and gleaming hardwoods is the part we all love, but getting down the nitty gritty of the buying process can launch us into the mind-frame of “what was I getting myself into?” While you can’t take the hassle out of the endless signatures, and unexpected events that may arise, arming yourself with a little know-how can make the transition from application to keys -in -hand a little easier.

Be Realistic - Know how much house you can afford and whether you’ll be able to maintain it long term. From HOA fees, and renovation costs, to saving for major repairs, the price of owning a home goes beyond your mortgage payment. Also, consider the cost of utilities - it takes far less to heat and cools a townhome than a 2,000 square foot house. Give your realtor a wish list of must-haves, but also let he or she know what your limits are so the candidates they show you are within the scope of manageability.

Don’t Judge a Book By its Cover - Granted, some fixer-uppers are not for the faint of heart, but don’t be put off by a loud wall color, outdated fixtures, or carpeting circa the 1970’s. Sometimes a home in need of minor updates can give you some negotiating power in terms of price. If the property has good bones and needs a little TLC whether it’s landscaping or a fresh coat of paint, it can be a rewarding experience to make it your own. Additionally, you don’t have to tackle it all at once! Take it one project at a time, and put your own personality into it.

Explore Your Options - If the single-family ranch in the suburbs looked great on paper, but turns into a home inspection nightmare, don’t hesitate to keep looking. If you’re a boomer or empty nester you might find you don’t need all that space, and a condo or townhouse may be the perfect fit. Keep in mind that multi-unit dwellings can be an affordable way to get you closer to your targeted location, especially when it comes to moving to the city, and can also free up time otherwise spent on exterior maintenance.

Hire a Pro - Whether this is your first, or fifth home, give yourself some peace of mind and hire a professional to handle the red tape. Interview a few to find one you feel good working with, and be clear about your needs and desires. They will guide you through the entire process, clarify the fine print, and a good realtor will steer you away from a shady deal. Navigating foreclosures and wayward sellers is their forte, so don’t be afraid to ask questions. You deserve the dream of ownership but let them make sure you’re signing on all the right dotted lines.